This was beyond Las Vegas temptation. This was the sure thing.
So without a final formalized offer from Jerry Jones for AT&T Stadium outside Dallas or a longshot Dodger Stadium bid, the Sept. 16 Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight for middleweight and boxing supremacy is headed to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“It’s good business … you have people coming from all over the world to Vegas, and the fact that we’re going to open it up to 30,000 closed-circuit seats” also was in consideration, Alvarez promoter Oscar De La Hoya said upon announcing the deal Monday.
“Vegas is going to be a big ol’ party. People want to go there to have a good time, watch a good fight and go off to restaurants and clubs. The entertainment factor there is that much better.”
De La Hoya also acknowledged that the urgency to book Las Vegas sprung in part from wanting to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the punch.
As secret talks continue for a possible boxing match between the unbeaten, pound-for-pound prizefighting king Mayweather and UFC champion Conor McGregor, Alvarez-Golovkin in Sin City is a done deal.
Mayweather, who retired in 2015, often fought in September, and his rivalry with De La Hoya is intense enough to take seriously a possible competing super-fight on the same night had De La Hoya opted to return Alvarez to AT&T Stadium a year after he drew 51,000 to the Dallas Cowboys’ home.
Although Jones was said by officials close to him to be “interested and prepared to make a significant offer,” he never presented a formal offer.
“We wanted to secure the date because obviously there’s rumblings another fight might take place around that same time,” De La Hoya said. “We had to go to Las Vegas.
“This is the real fight, the fight that everybody has been wanting to see for the last year and a half. We’re happy we can do it in Las Vegas and we’ll have special events around the fight,” with Mexican Independence Day weekend concerts featuring Ricky Martin, Mana, Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony scheduled.
Officials in Texas are hopeful the bout matching unbeaten three-belt middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0, 33 knockouts) against Mexico’s most popular fighter, former two-division champion Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), will be as competitive as anticipated to generate a rematch that could then go to Jones’ stadium.
“These are the types of fights everybody wants … it can be a trilogy,” De La Hoya said.
The fighters expressed excitement at staging their bout in “Fight City.”
"I am thrilled to return to T-Mobile Arena, and to give the fans the best fight that can be made in our sport today,” Alvarez said. "I have repeatedly said that I fear no man, and I am now going to prove it by stepping into the ring against ‘GGG.’ When the final bell rings, everyone will know that this is indeed the Canelo era, and that I am the best fighter in all of boxing."
While Alvarez opened 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena in May 2016 by knocking out Amir Khan and returned in May this year to dominate the bigger Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by unanimous decision, Golovkin will be making his Las Vegas debut.
"This is the type of fight I have dreamed of since I became a professional boxer," Golovkin said. "This fight will be at a true championship level and we will give the fans an exciting fight.”
De La Hoya and his staff declined to reveal terms of the T-Mobile Arena deal, but MGM Resorts, boosted by the massive spending of heavy crowds and high-rolling gamblers on such a fight week, has a proud history of outbidding larger venues for super-fights.
In 2015, the 16,000-seat MGM Grand beat out AT&T Stadium for Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, and De La Hoya said New York’s historic Madison Square Garden was involved in this bidding.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of little details” that helped Las Vegas, De La Hoya said. “The other elements [favoring Las Vegas] were that [T-Mobile operator] AEG has 200 arenas throughout the world, where they’re going to help us market and promote the pay-per-view.”
The much-anticipated HBO pay-per-view showdown between Alvarez, who’ll turn 27 next month, and Golovkin, 35, is boxing’s biggest match since Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015, but is expected to provide far more action than the dud that turned many fans away from interest in pay-per-view bouts.
Ticket sale information and prices are due to be announced in the near future.